Here is an easy and elegant pork tenderloin dish with Southern flair that is perfect for a special autumn dinner for two. The recipe is easily doubled, which also makes it perfect for the fall and winter entertaining season.
Pork tenderloin is generally sold with two per pack, and each weighs about a pound. If it’s just the two of you, use one, and wrap and freeze the other.
The tenderloin has a tough membrane called a “silverskin” that should be removed prior to cooking; otherwise, it will be tough and chewy, even after cooking. The piece is very visible and is easy to remove with a sharp boning knife.
Instead of flour and egg to bind the pecan mixture to the meat, I use Dijon mustard, which is easier and also adds another layer of flavor. If you use whole pecans, you will need slightly more than the cup of pecan pieces indicated in the recipe because you can fit more pieces into a measuring cup than you can whole pecans.
A mini food processor works well to grind the pecans. However, be careful to not grind them too much; it will create a paste.
A decadent bourbon sauce can be whisked together while the tenderloin bakes.
This dish can also be prepared with boneless skinless chicken breasts or turkey tenderloins. Serve with mashed sweet potatoes or long-grain and wild rice pilaf and roasted green beans.
Pecan-Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon – Mustard Sauce
— Cooking spray
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup pecan pieces, ground
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
— Salt and black pepper, to taste
For the sauce:
¾ cup chicken broth
¼ cup bourbon
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
¼ cup Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
— Salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, preferably nonstick, and spray lightly with cooking spray.
Rub the mustard evenly over the pork. Combine ground pecans, thyme, cayenne, salt and black pepper to taste and spread in a pan. Roll the tenderloin in the nut mixture, coating well on all sides.
Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees.
Meanwhile, prepare sauce. Combine chicken broth, bourbon and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Whisk in sugar, Worcestershire, soy sauce and mustard and stir until smooth. Whisk in butter. Add salt to taste. Serve with pork.